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Rated: E · Letter/Memo · Community · #2183832
How it feels to go from living in Texas to living in New York
         Since moving from the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas to Babylon Village, New York about a year ago, people ask me, "So how do you like living in New York?" I respond, "I love it! It's so beautiful here!" They ask, "What is the biggest change for you?" I respond with a smile, "Seeing water everywhere I go! When I see it I always feel like I'm on vacation'! You see, as my New York-born and bred husband likes to remind me, I have always lived in the flyover states! I grew up, long stringy blonde hair flying in the wind, on the back of a horse riding over the pale green and gold plains of Nebraska 10 miles from the South Dakota line on 7000+ acres named Lone Tree Ranch. It was rightly named because well...there were only a handful of trees on that 7000+ acres. For miles & miles, as far as your eye can see, nothing but prairie and cattle and a few horses used to work the cattle. Sometimes you would see other livestock such as pigs and sheep along with antelope, deer, conyotes, skunks, raccoons, jackrabbits and rattlesnakes, just to name a few. In late summer, the sweet scent of alfalfa growing in the fields fills your senses. The only water we ever saw were a few ponds and creeks and Lake Whitney where we learned to fish with our Dad and Grandfathers. When I was in high school, my family moved to eastern Oklahoma where the people were friendly and endearing with their lazy southern accents. They would say things like, over yonder in the holler, y'all come back now ya here, come 'n sit a spell. I really thought people only talked like that on the Beverly Hillbillies. In eastern Oklahoma, a nice spring day is described as a "pretty day" and for good reason, it is pretty! I don't ever remember anyone describing a day as "pretty" in Nebraska. Eastern Oklahoma is made up of green trees, hills that they call mountains and the dark brown moss covered rocky terrain where the beautiful Ozarks begin. It has much of the same beautiful wildlife we had in Nebraska with the addition of armadillos, lots disgusting bloodsucking ticks some so tiny you had to get out a magnifying glass to see them on your skin, microscopic chiggers that dig under your skin, water moccasins to swim with and driving to town, you could see tarantulas the size of a small dinner plate crossing the road. I moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas when I was in my 30's. Texans are amiable and friendly and the weather is warm to hot 8 months of the year and the other 4 months can be unpredictably warm or cold. And by cold, I mean that most years we hope to get 3 days in a row where it gets to and stays below freezing in order to help kill off some of the bugs. Some years we don't see snow at all, most years we get a few, of what my husband says New Yorkers call, "a dusting", of snow and every 7 to 10 years we get a big snow that shuts us down because we really don't have the equipment to clear roads from that kind of snowfall, sadly, like the year we hosted the Super Bowl. In Texas, most of the bad weather comes as ice storms, tornadoes and lots of spring and summer thunderstorms that can produce some golf ball to even baseball sized hail! DFW is the proud home of The Dallas Cowboys, The Texas Rangers, The Mavericks, The Stars! As of fact, in Texas, sports are serious business from birth up. There are some beautiful lakes within driving distance but in Texas, you don't see water as you do here on Long Island. The only time I've ever had the pleasure of being around water like this is when I've been on vacation. Even though Texas has The Gulf of Mexico, Texas is a huge state and if you live in the DFW area, you don't get to see the ocean unless you take a long trip....you know...like a vacation.

         When you ask people what New Yorkers are like, many times you hear that they are curt, unfriendly and sometimes rude. But I have not found that to be true. In my year here, I have found them in most cases, to be helpful, polite and kind. They may not smile and say Hi when they meet you on the street as they do in Oklahoma, and they may not be outwardly as warm and friendly as they are in Texas but the clerks in shops or waiters/waitresses in restaurants are quite friendly and helpful. Once they hear me speak, even though I don't have a strong southern accent, they know I'm not a local and many times they strike up a conversation with me to find out where I'm from and they like to hear a little bit of my story of what brought me to New York. It is interesting that most everyone I talk to has either friends or family in Texas, many times living very close to where I lived.

         Although New Yorkers are very vocal and somewhat impatient drivers as they like to demonstrate with the use of their horns and vocabulary, they are gracious to pedestrians and thoughtful in letting you merge into the flow of traffic as needed. I must admit that I'm still trying to understand the speed limit here on Long Island. The fastest speed limit I've seen is 55mph yet the flow of traffic is often over 70mph, and I'm yet to see anyone pulled over getting a speeding ticket. In Texas, speed limits on major highways are generally 75mph. Now it's true, you can get in your car and drive for 12 hours west to east or north to south and still be in Texas and the highways are fairly straight and flat and in excellent condition. You're usually safe going 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit, depending on the area, without getting ticketed by a patrolman but faster than that and you WILL get a mandatory invitation to court. So maybe the lower speed limits on Long Island are due to the curvier roads and the many many dangerous potholes that make me feel like I'm driving on an obstacle course! Maybe all those speeding tickets they hand out in Texas are paying for our beautiful roads. I have definitely contributed my fair share!

         One if the interesting differences I've noticed living here in New York is the pronunciation of words and understanding local colloquialisms. There is some controversy in our family as to whether I should say I live "on" Long Island or "in" Long Island. And since living here, I hear everyone saying, "Get on Line" instead of the familiar "Get in line" that I'm used to. Every time I hear someone say that it makes me think I should be looking for a line painted on the floor that I need to stand on. And I wonder, what does it mean when someone says, Shut the light? Don't you mean, Shut the light OFF? I mean how do you shut a light? I understand the need to shut the door but shut the light.....hmmm? I've learned that I don't properly pronounce Italian words like; mozzarella, ricotta and manicotti. I have such fun going into places like Gemelli's Italian Market where many of the items on the shelves are foreign to me and I love learning about and trying them. Here the grocery store shelves are filled with ingredients to make Italian food, in Texas, the isles are filled with items to make Mexican food. Don't get me wrong, I love Italian food, and yes, I know there are some good Mexican food restaurants here, like Del Fuego, Swell Taco and Besito but I do get hankering for Texmex from Texas.

         So the biggest things I miss about Texas are being close to family and friends, knowing where I'm going without Googling it and my favorite restaurants and shops. Other things that I miss might seem strange but I miss turning on the radio and hearing my favorite DJs and my favorite country music stations, turning on the tv and seeing familiar newscasters, being able to jump in my car and run to my favorite stores without having to figure out where they are, leaving the hairdresser I'd used for 10 years and losing my doctors. Little things that we take for granted when we've lived somewhere for a long time.

         I have been falling in love with Long Island New York since my first visit here in July of 2016 when I had a delicious meal at Primi Italian Steakhouse. As we drove from Babylon to the restaurant in West Islip, I was blown away by the breathtaking hydrangeas! I have never seen anything like the way they grow here, full hedges along the road in gorgeous purples, pinks and whites, their huge blooms cascading over fences and tumbling out of window boxes. I love viewing the large expanses of sparkling blue water everywhere I look, exploring the rich history of the area and taking in the beautiful architecture. I love that you can drive from the south to the north side of the island in 35 minutes and that the landscape changes so dramatically from the golden sandy beaches of the south side to the lush green yet hilly and rocky north side. I love the graceful white swans that I see coming and going from the different bodies of water such as Argyle Lake, it amazes me to observe the beautiful geese all year round grazing by the side of the road or on the ponds and seagulls floating around and cawing in the parking lot of the grocery store or mall, how strange is that! I love being so close to NYC as to able to take advantage of the marvelous things that happen there. I am immersing myself in Long Island as my new home, meeting new people and having breakfast or lunch with new friends at one of the great little restaurants in Babylon Village like Glen's Diner, The Post Office or Barrique. It's fun trying new foods, embracing new cultures, exploring the island or having a meal at one of the many restaurants on the water like The Lakehouse or Tres Palms. Tasting new wines, visiting the many cool wineries like Pindars or an intimate evening listening to great music and maybe dancing with the love of my life at Charlottes Speakeasy or Still Partners. My eyes and ears are still getting used to the sights and sounds and distinct New York accents all around me. If you see a tall blonde who looks at you with a smile and says hello, it might be me. Thank you Long Island, thank you for giving me such a warm welcome!

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